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Career advice overview

How do I become a dentist? What specialisms and career options are available to me? Find the answers to your questions in this section.

How to become a dentist

Dentistry is one of the most popular degrees in the UK and there is a lot of competition for university places. To qualify as a dentist, you need to complete a dental course which usually takes five years and leads to a bachelor’s degree (BDS or BChD).

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General practice

There are several career options for dentists in general dental practice, including working for the NHS, mixed or private practice. Dentists also have the choice of working for different types of employers such as dental corporates or independent practices.

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Employed dentistry

There are several career options for dentists in employed dentistry, including public health, academia, and armed services.

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Dentists often specialise because they enjoy a particular element of dentistry or treating certain types of patients. There are many routes into specialisation and different areas to work in such as Oral Medicine, Restorative Dentistry, and Paediatric Dentistry.

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Other career options

There are many other dental career options open to qualified dentists, including implant dentistry, dental indemnity, dental regulation, and prison dentistry.

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Student lectures

We visit all UK dental schools to give lectures to fourth year students and final year students. The format of the lectures (online or face-to-face) is subject to dental school policies. Please contact the final year administrator or BDA reps at your dental school for more information.

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After graduation

After graduation, qualified dentists must register with the General Dental Council, the profession’s governing body. Dentists then have the choice to undertake further training to gain increased knowledge of specialist areas of dentistry.

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Dental schools

There are sixteen dental schools in the UK of which two are graduate entry, plus two postgraduate entry dental institutes.

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